Richard King Mellon Foundation commits to provide more outdoor experiences for girls
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Richard King Mellon Foundation commits to provide more outdoor experiences for girls


Pittsburgh—Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania (GSWPA) is pleased to accept a generous grant in the amount of $766,500 from the Richard King Mellon Foundation as part of a continued, mutual commitment to help more girls experience the outdoors in new ways that excite and challenge them.

This grant will benefit Girl Scouts from eight councils across the country: GSWPA, Girl Scouts of Alaska, Girl Scouts–Arizona Cactus-Pine, Girl Scouts of Greater New York, Girl Scouts of Southeastern Michigan, Girl Scouts of Black Diamond (West Virginia), Girl Scouts of Maine, and Girl Scouts of Montana and Wyoming.

Throughout the next year, the funding will maintain the momentum initiated by the Richard King Mellon Foundation grant that GSWPA received in 2016. The funds will support the continued collaboration between GSWPA and the Student Conservation Association (SCA). SCA’s mission is to build the next generation of conservation leaders and inspire lifelong stewardship of the environment and communities by engaging young people in hands-on service to the land.

The Girl Scout councils and SCA will develop an all-Girl Scout project crew of 8-10 girls who will travel to Olympic National Forest in Washington State for two weeks from July 29-August 11, during which they will complete environmental service projects and learn about ecology and preserving habitats. This will be a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for Girl Scouts from these councils to expand leadership skills and practical knowledge of the environment.

“Outdoor experiences are essential to a young woman’s confidence,” says Patricia A. Burkart, CEO of GSWPA. “Over the course of the last several decades, the interaction a child has with nature has fundamentally changed, but Girl Scouts continues to offer adventures, challenges, and personal growth in the all-girl, girl-led environment where she’s most comfortable.”

Through efforts supported by the 2016 grant, GSWPA experienced a 30 percent increase in girls who participated in new, innovative programming that addressed environmental impact while urging girls to discover and expand their skills and leadership capabilities. The funding facilitated more affordable, accessible resources and training for Girl Scout volunteers, which fostered proficient and knowledgeable role models who were excited to introduce and supervise outdoor adventures for girls.

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About Girl Scouts

Founded in 1912, Girl Scouts of the USA is the preeminent leadership experience for girls and is the leading authority on girls’ healthy development. Girl Scouts builds girls of courage, confidence, and character, who make the world a better place. The 2.8-million-member organization serves girls from every corner of the United States and its territories. Girl Scouts of the USA also serves American girls and their classmates attending American or international schools overseas in 90 countries. For more information on how to join, volunteer, reconnect or donate to Girl Scouts Western Pennsylvania, call 800-248-3355, or visit